Cameroon GCE board syllabus O Level Geography
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Since 1977 when the Cameroon GCE was introduced and 1994 when the GCE Board came with its systematic innovations, the syllabus for Ordinary Level Geography has been largely an adaptation from that of the University of London GCE Examinations. This has not evolved significantly as the latter. It is therefore imperative to formulate and review the content of this syllabus to enshrine characteristics that are environmentally suitable and adaptable to local realities yet maintaining its general structure. This takes cognisance of Law No 98/004/ of 14th April, 1998 laying down guidelines for education in Cameroon followed by decision No.29/2011/MINESEC/ CAB of 10th February 2011 setting committees with specific terms of reference.
Against this background, the present new syllabus seeks to establish a link between the Ordinary and Advanced Levels by providing the necessary changes in the course content and examination structure so as to bridge the existing gap that hitherto existed between the levels. In this way, the reviewed syllabus uses appropriate generic concepts that for long had remained the reserve of A/L and beyond. Emphasis is put on the acquisition of basic skills and the need for basic field observations just within the immediate school environment so as to reinforce the understanding of concepts taught.
A major innovation is the introduction of the Geographic Study of Cameroon. This aims at improving on the learners’ awareness of the developmental potentials and challenges of Cameroon. The management components of basic environmental hazards stemming from several anthropogenic and nature induced processes has been reinforced so as to make more visible the utility of the subject. Allowance is given for further periodic modifications in view of keeping abreast with currents trends of knowledge of the environment.
2. Differences between the current syllabus and the previous one
(I) What has been added (Additions)
A) Syllabus Content and structure
The geography of Cameroon is now a syllabus area emphasising human and physical aspects. This reinforces the need of learners to have better knowledge of the country and highlights the potentials for and challenges to the economic growth of the country.
There has been the introduction of the basic ideas of models in both physical and human geography in order to bridge the gap between the Ordinary and Advanced Level. More emphasis has been put on aspects such as global warming, desertification, internet communication, and poverty spiral.
Themes have been re-arranged into subject areas namely: hydrology, meteorology and Climatology, Geomorphology, Biogeography, Economic Activities, Population Geography, Settlement, the interrelationship between human activities and the environment. This modification goes a long way to align the Ordinary and Advanced Level syllabuses.
The new syllabus has equally put in place the impact of processes on man and the environments as well as their mitigation strategies. Hence the subject is made applicable and relevant to individuals and the society.
Assessments objectives and learning outcomes have been introduced so as to make the expectations of the syllabus more precise. Furthermore, the objective of analysis has been slightly included so as to bridge the gap between the O and A Levels.
B) The examination structure has been modified as follows:
(i) The number of MCQ has been reduced from 60 to 50 so as harmonise with other subjects at this Level. Also, the essay questions have been reduced from 12 to 11; while candidates shall be expected to answer 5 and not 4 questions as in the old syllabus. Furthermore, the illustrative case studies from the LEDCs and the MEDCs have been fused into one section as opposed to the hitherto two, since they test the same learning skills.
(ii) The duration of the examinations has also been modified. In paper two the time has been increased from 2¼ to 2½ hours, while paper one remains the same
(II) What has been reduced (Deductions)
Field work has been eliminated from the ordinary level because of the very large class sizes which makes field work impossible. Furthermore, its elimination forestalls the school based assessments which were highly subjective. However, this is subject to revision as soon as better modalities are laid down.
Syllabus Aims and Assessment Objectives
This syllabus aims at:
A. Introducing students systematically to themes, basic concepts, skills, Techniques and Scope of the subject.
B. Developing the ability to identify and interpret geographical processes and patterns on the earth’s surface.
C. Laying the foundation for further studies.
D. Enabling students to use these skills, techniques and concepts in problem solving of the society at various spatial levels – National, Regional and Global.
E. Developing a positive attitude towards geography discipline as an intellectually satisfying subject relevant to everyday life
4. Assessment Objectives (AO)
The scheme of assessment will assess candidates’ ability to:
i. Identify and interpret geographical information, concepts and principles (define, describe, draw etc). – knowledge
ii. Illustrate answers with suitable annotated sketch maps and diagrams. – Understanding